From Australia, a question about gambling

Posted: April 26, 2013

D EAR HARRY: I live in Australia, and just read on the Internet your column on gambling. The casino scourge that is hitting the United States is intolerable.

We often see pictures and read articles here about the large number of Americans who live in dire poverty. Some of the people live in abandoned cars in the richest country in the world. The crazy illogic that says casinos are good for society because they create new jobs ignores the fact that most of the patrons are poor to begin with and then fall into dire straits hoping to win back enough to break even.

That some of your states run lotteries makes me wonder where your thoughts come from.

When we hear about the problems your older population has with scams and other frauds, we deduce that this also is related to gambling.

Aren't there better ways to get added revenue than to impose more poverty on the poor?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: There is always the hope that "I'll be a big winner next time."

State lotteries have the virtue that (in some states) the state's share of the money lost by the gamblers goes for good causes. Here in Pennsylvania, this money goes to help the elderly. The casino profits have no such virtue.

I visited a casino once, became physically uncomfortable at what I saw and never went back. Are people so hardwired to gamble that they would flock to scams promising a huge payoff if we had no casinos? Many would.

Email Harry Gross at, or

write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107.

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